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  • 8/27/2006

Imam Zainu'l-Abedin (AS)

The 5th of Sha'ban, in the year 38 after Hejira marks the birth anniversary of Imam Ali ibn Hussein, Zainu'l-Abedin (AS).

Like his grandfather, Zainu'l-Abedin (AS) was busy cultivating land and palm-date orchards. He offered two raka'ts of prayer near each palm-date tree. During the prayers he would get he so absorbed that he did not have any attention towards anything but God. He traveled from Medina to Mecca twenty times on foot. He continuously guided people through the melody of Qur'anic verses.

All human attributes were collectively present in him. He was the epitome of tolerance, forgiveness and self-sacrifice. He looked after and administrated hundreds of houses of the poor hungry. A number of goats were slaughtered in his house daily; he distributed all their meat among the afflicted. He dressed the naked and paid their debts, whereas he himself took simple meals and put on simple dress.

One day, someone came to Imam Ali ibn Hussein (AS), addressing him with profane and abusive language. The Imam (AS) turned his face towards him and said, "O brother, if what you say is right, and these vices are present in me, then may God pardon and forgive my sins. And if you are telling a lie, then may God forgive you and pardon your sins."

The man was ashamed and asked the Imam (AS) to pardon him.

Abu Hamza Somali, a friend of the Imam (AS), asked his servant to briefly define the character and morals of the Imam (AS). He said, "I have been at his service for so many years. What I saw was righteousness, piety and purity. He helps and assists people, solving their problems in spite of all the difficulties which he himself faces."

Zaid bin Usama was lying on his deathbed when Imam Sajjad (AS) visited him. Zaid was weeping when the Imam (AS) asked him the reason for his weeping. He replied, "I have to pay a 15,000-dinar debt; my wealth is not so much as to pay off the debt."

The Imam (AS) said, "Do not weep. I will pay your debts."

When the nights became dark and all the people went to sleep, Imam Sajjad (AS) would rise and put food in a sack, carrying it over his shoulder. He would cover his face so as not to be recognized. He would carry the food to the houses of the poor. He looked after nearly a hundred families in Medina, most of them indigent, helpless and crippled. None of the families knew that it was Imam Zainu'l-Abedin (AS) who managed their lives!

However, after the Imam's (AS) death, when the aid stopped, the people came to know that Zainu'l Abedin (AS) was their friend and helper.

The magnanimous Imam (AS) was poisoned by Hashem ibn Abdul-Malek on the 25th of Muharram, in the year 95 after Hejira. He was buried in Baqi' Cemetery in Medina, beside the grave of Imam Hassan (AS).

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